Tuesday, January 24, 2006


There was an article in today's WSJ about the British government's efforts to improve the behavior of its citizens through public service campaigns. One problem they are addressing is chewing gum litter. They commissioned a study to determine Why people dropped their gum on the street, which is something that has always disturbed me. It seems like such a malicious thing to do, and I just can't imagine feeling such ill will toward all the other souls wandering about in my community. According to this study, however, it is simply mindlessness. Most of the people surveyed just didn't see anything wrong with dropping their gum wherever they happened to be when they tired of chewing. As Vizzini (the Sicilian in The Princess Bride) would say, "Inconceivable." Happily, after an ad campaign, gum-dropping declined 30%. I can think of dumber ways for the government to spend money.

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